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Prosecutors Mix Up Identical Twins, Charge Wrong Guy In SJ State Stabbing

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(L-R) Anh Tong, Duc Tong (San Jose Police Dept.)

(L-R) Anh Tong, Duc Tong (San Jose Police Dept.)

Juliette-Goodrich_BIO-HEAD Juliette Goodrich
Emmy award winning reporter and Bay Area native Juliette...
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SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – A man accused of stabbing a San Jose State University student to death will have his murder charge dropped and instead prosecutors plan to charge his twin brother.

18-year-old Duc Tong was charged with murder last week in the January 26th stabbing death of 22-year-old Richard Phan. Police said he and his identical twin brother, Ahn Tong, were uninvited guests at a birthday party for Phan’s girlfriend. 

A fight spilled out onto the street and Phan was stabbed to death after trying to play peacemaker, according to police.

Legal analyst Steven Clarke called the case, “a prosecutor’s nightmare.”

“A jury is going to look at this case now with some skepticism because the prosecution’s theory has completely shifted by changing their theory from one twin to the other,” said Clarke.

Duc Tong still faces a lesser charge in connection with the fatal stabbing.

“I have never heard of any case like this in the United States where two identical twins are charged with the same homicide,” said Clarke.

 Clarke says murder investigations at party scenes can be difficult when witness accounts are clouded by alcohol. “But in this case it’s even harder …with the suspects being identical,” he said.

“You have problems with DNA … because they have the same DNA and significant problems with identification because they have no facial distinction.”

Investigators say clothing, witness accounts and any video from the scene will play a huge role in this case.

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